Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to see their physician or miss work, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide.
There are different reasons why people suffer from this problem. As a first step, it is important to rule out any underlying health conditions with a health care provider. When this is done, luckily there are many things we can try to overcome back pain. The most common causes are too much sitting, lack of movement, too much repetitive or wrong type of movements.
If we don’t pay special attention, as we age, we continuously lose muscle mass. For overall health, it is important to maintain strong muscles in every part of our body. Here we will look at the importance of back muscles.
A strong back looks really good, but its benefits go far beyond aesthetics. Back muscles contribute to:
Posture - correct posture has crucial importance in overall health, especially during ageing. A good posture and strong back muscles help to prevent you from slouching, give you a more confident appearance and it also makes your belly look flatter.
Overall muscle strength - back muscles (latissimus dorsi) are the second largest muscles after the Gluteus maximus. Training your back and making it strong will contribute to muscle strength in general.
Prevention/improvement of pain - as back muscles support, protect and stabilise the spine, strengthening them can help improve back pain. If your back muscles are weak, your spine might become susceptible to injury and pain.
Strengthening of bones - weight training in general contributes to stronger bones, because bones and muscles are closely interconnected. Resistance exercise is known to be highly beneficial for the preservation of bone and muscle mass. It is the best intervention to maintain or increase bone mass and density. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279907/)
Good balance - strong back muscles help us prevent falling as we age. Stronger muscles also mean better mobility and balance, and thus a lower risk of falling and injuries.
Good metabolic health - exercise reduces metabolic disease risk by activating metabolic changes in non-skeletal-muscle tissues. Training your back muscles might have an important part in this process.
A sedentary lifestyle leads to an atrophy of back muscles and muscles in general. Your back becomes stiff and susceptible to pain. Regular movement and resistance exercise help to prevent and improve back pain. Weights are very helpful, they bring faster and better results. Own body weight exercises work too, of course. The most important is to move and to find the right types of exercise for you.
If you have persistent back pain, get it checked with your treating physician to exclude any underlying condition.